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Judge Page

Below are 2 videos created by the Southern California Debate League which will help as you begin judging in the new world of ONLINE Speech and Debate
The first video is How to Make a Tabroom Account
The second video is How to fill out an online ballot on tabroom

ADDITIONAL Judge Information  (some items do not apply in an online/virtual setting

*****You can download three judge packets at the bottom of this page
*****You can watch the two How to judge videos at the bottom of this page

Most speech & debate tournaments take place on Saturdays. They consist of students from many schools competing in 15 different events for awards (usually given to the top 7 in each event).

Competitors are identified by number only.


NO ONE should be recording (video or audio) the round

Please make sure competitors are NOT texting during the performances.

Materials needed to judge include paper and a pen or pencil. Stop watches are desirable (you may use the stopwatch function on your cell phone). All events have time limits. If you do not have a stopwatch, do NOT use the classroom wall clock for accurate timing. They are NOT reliable.

Judges should report to the judge’s room the day of the tournament and sign in. Assignments will be handed out each round.

Judges should NEVER leave the school site until they are dismissed or allowed to do so by the individuals working the judge’s room.

NEVER SWITCH judging assignments with other judges without permission from those people running the judge’s room.

INSTRUCTIONS ON EACH EVENT will be given before the ballots are given out. EVEN IF YOU HAVE JUDGED MANY TIMES BEFORE, please listen as EVENT RULES DO CHANGE OFTEN!!!!!!! If you have any questions about anything, please ask the people running the judge’s room.


  •  a 1=best in round 2=next best (NO TWO SCORES ALIKE)
  • If the ballot has a place for “performance” (excellent, good, etc.) please mark the correct response for each speaker. Here, you CAN mark two alike.
  • PLEASE WRITE CRITIQUES on the ballot as to WHY you ranked a speaker the way you did. PLEASE BE HONEST! These ballots are used by the coaches and students to help them improve. A bad score on the ballot is much easier to understand if a critique is written.


Please also understand that one of the most difficult and stressful jobs at a tournament is that of assigning the judges. Those people are under a great deal of pressure. They love you and totally appreciate you giving up your time to judge even though, sometimes, it may seem like they’re not smiling at you.


DO look interested.
DO NOT look bored.
DO be available and meet all assignments given to you by the individuals in the judge’s room.
DO start the round on time.
DO remain on duty in your room for a full hour, or until all numbers on the ballot have spoken.
DO permit observers in the room in which you are judging.
DO NOT permit individuals to enter the room WHILE someone is speaking.
DO know how many judges are scheduled for the round you are judging. (usually 1 for the prelim rounds, 3 for semi’s and finals)
DO rank only one speaker with a “1”, one with a “2” and down the line.
DO NOT give more than one speaker the same NUMERICAL score.
DO record your own private judgment as a score.
DO NOT confer with other judges/persons until after the ballots are turned in.
DO avoid revealing your score to anyone especially the speakers.
DO turn your properly marked ballot into the judge’s room AS SOON AS YOU ARE FINISHED. Delays hold up the entire tournament.
DO NOT rank any speakers until the FINAL speaker has spoken.
DO NOT ask competitors what school they are from.
DO NOT admit your own “inexperience” or lack thereof.
DO NOT switch judging assignments.
DO NOT allow students to record (audio or video) any speeches in the round.

PLEASE DO-DO-DO WRITE CRITIQUES ON THE CRITIQUE SHEETS  7th place, “good job-tough round” makes it impossible for a coach or student to understand how students can improve.

DO ASK QUESTIONS  If you have any questions, please ask the individuals running the judges’ room.